Unless you grew up under a rock, getting to the checkout lane at the grocery store was the highlight of every shopping trip. Not because you loved moving bananas from your grocery cart to the belt, but because the checkout lane is where the candy was. No matter your age, you spent the final minutes of every shopping trip begging your mom or dad for a chocolate bar or a bag of fruity, tangy candies. And maybe you haven’t seen some of those candies in a long time.
Indeed, few things define a childhood more than eating mountains and mountains of candy, but the candies that define a childhood have changed over time. Long gone are the days when penny candy and wax bottles dominated candy shops and convenience stores. Today, candy aisles are dominated by a few big-name brands like Reese’s, Skittles and M&M’s, leaving retro candies like Sugar Babies, Sixlets, Abba Zaba and Razzles in the dust.
Wait a second! Can you even find Razzles and Abba Zaba anymore? Maybe you haven’t seen these treats on store shelves in a long, long time, but many favorite retro candies are still in production. Even if they’re not going strong, they are still going. What candies from your childhood still exist today? The answer may just surprise you.
The Abba Zaba is a true classic candy bar, first coming into the world all the way back in 1922. Though you can still buy this taffy and peanut butter confection today, it’s largely a relic of pop culture. The Abba Zaba has been mentioned or shown in recent hits like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Sharp Objects.”
The Bazooka Bubble Gum you know and love from the 1940s and ‘50s looks different today. The famous Bazooka Joe comics were swapped for brain teasers in 2012. The classic taste of this sugary gum, however, remains.
Big League Chew may not be quite as politically correct as it was upon its launch in 1980 and its subsequent success, but this shredded bubblegum treat is still going strong today. In addition to the “Outta Here Original,” Big League Chew now comes in blue raspberry, sour apple, watermelon, grape and cotton candy flavors.
Few candies taste as classic as Bit-O-Honey, which consists simply of honey-flavored taffy and tiny bits of almond. Though this brand has changed hands a few times since its debut in the 1920s, today Bit-O-Honey is made by Pearson's Candy Company.
Real baked beans may very well be one of the most popular dishes you’ll find in New England, but the sugar-coated peanuts known as Boston Baked Beans are a close second. Today, Boston Baked Beans are made by the Ferrara Candy Company, which is also the home to nostalgic candies like RedHots, LemonHeads, SweeTarts and Jujyfruits.
While adults may be popping different kinds of bottle caps, if you want to feel nostalgic, crack open a pack of Bottle Caps candies, which are still going strong after nearly 50 years. These candies fittingly reflect soda pop with root beer, cola, cherry, grape and orange flavors, differentiating them from other tart treats like Smarties and Spree.
First made by Wayne Bun Candy Company and then by Clark Bar America, the Bun Bar is a classic 1920s candy that is now made and distributed by Pearson’s Candy Company, the makers of other old-school confections like Bit-O-Honey and Salted Nut Rolls. The Bun Bar of today is a little different than its classic counterpart; today, this treat comes in three flavors: maple, vanilla and sea salt caramel. Originally this candy only came in maple and vanilla flavors.
The candy cigarettes of today may still have packaging that looks like a pack of smokes, with brands like Lucky Lights and Round Up mimicking Marlboros and Lucky Strikes, but these chalky sugar sticks are a bit different than you may remember. Because candy cigarettes were thought to desensitize kids to the actual hazards of smoking, features like red tips and powdered sugar that allows you to blow “smoke” have been removed.
While the flavored nougat covered in chocolate game may be dominated by the Milky Way today, in days of yore, the Charleston Chew dominated candy store shelves. Today, the Charleston Chew is still being enjoyed fresh and frozen in three flavors: original nougat, strawberry and vanilla, and is produced by Tootsie Roll Industries.
Since 1921, Chuckles Jelly Candies have been making people, well, chuckle with their five classic flavors: cherry, lemon, lime, orange and black licorice. These sugar-coated jellies are the perfect decoration for a gingerbread house, if you ask us. Today, Chuckles are sold by Ferrara Candy Company, the same people who make and sell Boston Baked Beans, Bob’s Candy Canes, Atomic Fireballs and other nostalgic treats.
If you thought the Crispy M&M had disappeared from store shelves, you’re not hallucinating. This chocolate with a crunchy wafer center first hit stores in 1999 before being discontinued just six years later. Luckily for fans of this candy, Crispy M&M’s made a triumphant return in 2015 and they remain available pretty widely today.
While their fruity sibling Dots may be better known, the black licorice-flavored Crows came out first. And while you may have to hunt for them, you can still find and buy Crows today. In addition to Dots and Crows, Tootsie Roll Industries also produces Tropical Dots, Sour Dots and seasonal gumdrop flavors.
After a total of 100 years in the candy making business, Goetze’s is still making Cow Tales, alongside their flagship product, Caramel Creams. These chewy, creamy caramel candies have had a variety of flavors over the years, including peanut butter, caramel apple and banana, some of which have been more successful than others. Today, Cow Tales are available in original, caramel apple, chocolate and strawberry flavors; Caramel Creams have the same flavors as well as a licorice varietal.
The the Mallo Cup was an innovative and new twist on the chocolate-covered marshmallow when it debuted in 1936. Today, the cup-shaped candy market is dominated by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but this whipped marshmallow and chocolate cup is still available.
Just look at the wrapper of an Oh Henry! bar; it just exudes the feeling of classic candy. Indeed, this peanut, caramel and fudge log draped in chocolate has been around since the 1920s and is still sold by the Nestle company today.
Perhaps best known to modern audiences as the favorite candy of Jennifer Garner’s character in “13 Going on 30,” Razzles really were a favorite candy of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Part candy, part gum, this fruity candy has it all and has seen a revival in recent years. Unlike some other candies on this list, Razzles are relatively easy to find in gas stations and convenience stores today.
The candy-coated chocolate game may be dominated by M&M’s today, but children of the ‘60s know and love Sixlets, crunchy little chocolate candies available in iconic, tiny cellophane tubes. Despite their name, a typical tube of Sixlets actually contains eight candy pieces.
Sugar Babies first debuted in the 1930s, and people have been eating these scrumptious sugary milk caramel bites ever since. Sugar Babies aren’t the only member of the Sugar family still around today. Sugar Daddy, essentially one big Sugar Baby on a stick, is also sold today. However, if you’re looking for the Sugar Mama (a Sugar Daddy coated in chocolate), you’re out of luck. They went out of production in the 1980s.
Though it’s known as the 100 Grand Bar today, when this chocolate, crisp rice and caramel confection debuted in 1966, it was called the $100,000 Bar. Though this underrated candy bar is harder to find today than it once ones, bags of Fun Size 100 Grand Bars are plentiful during trick-or-treat season.
Warheads arrived in the United States in 1993 and dominated candy aisles throughout the decade. You may have to hunt a bit harder to find Warheads today than you did 25 years ago, but a variety of Warheads products, including the classic Extreme Sour Hard Candies, Sour Drops, Pucker Packs, Super Sour Spray and a variety of sour worms and other gummies are available in stores.
The ingredients in a Whatchamacallit have changed since it first came out in 1978. Today, it’s peanut-flavored crisps, caramel and a thin chocolate coating. But once upon a time, this classic candy bar featured a peanut butter-flavored crisp and chocolate only. Whatever you call a Whatchamacallit, you can call it delicious.
While Warheads and other tart treats may have the hearts of millennials, baby boomers will remember ZotZ, a product of the 1960s and ‘70s that features a hard candy with a fizzy, sour center. Where izz the fizz today? In the U.S., this candy is distributed by Andre Prost and sold in stores. If you were born in 1968, you share a birth year with ZotZ. But if you have a different birthday, these are the most popular candies that debuted the year you were born.
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